Home' Greymouth Star : August 4th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, August 4, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1875 - Death of Hans Christian Andersen,
Danish writer of fairy tales.
1900 - Australian and British troops defend
a staging post in Western Transvaal against the
1914 - Germany invades Belgium
and when London’s ultimatum
to Berlin to withdraw expires at
midnight, Britain declares war
on Germany; the US declares its
1916 - Denmark sells Danish
Virgin Islands to United States for
1944 - Nazi police capture 14-year-old Anne
Frank and seven other Jews in hiding places in
1964 - Bodies of missing civil rights workers
Michael H Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and
James E Chaney are found buried in an earthen
dam in Mississippi.
1972 - Arthur Bremer is jailed for 63 years for
shooting George Wallace, governor of Alabama.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet (1792-
1822); Queen Elizabeth the Q ueen Mother
(1900-2002); Louis Armstrong, US jazz
musician (1901-1971); Reg Grundy,
Australian game-show pioneer
(1923-2016); Frankie Ford, US
singer (1939-2015); Richard Belzer,
US actor-comedian (1944-); Billy
Bob Thornton, US actor-director
(1955-); Tim Winton, Australian
author (1960-); Barack Obama,
American president (1961-) .
“ Every man is dangerous who only cares for
one thing.” — G K Chesterton, English poet-
“ Do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your minds, so
that you may discern what is the will of God
— what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
— (Romans 12:2).
Steam engines will
begin fading from the
scene within the next
two weeks and by the end of the month will
have disappeared almost altogether. This will
represent the completion in a major stage
in the switch by West Coast railways from
steam to diesel engines at the Greymouth
Steam engines would be retained only for
heavy shunts, but ultimately they would be
withdrawn altogether as heavier diesels were
brought into ser vice, said Mr W J Watkins the
district mechanical engineer of Railways in
A fine example of community drive and
spirit has been given by the residents of the
Moana district, and tomorrow they receive the
reward for many hours of hard work when the
township’s new $14,000 hall is opened.
It was two years ago that an early morning
blaze swept through the old Moana hall,
burning it to the ground and leaving the
community with no headquarters for district
activities. However, the fire had hardly
stopped smouldering when a campaign to
raise the finance necessary for a new hall was
launched. Residents left no avenue untrod in
their endeavours to this end and the result is
that tomorrow they can look for ward to the
resumption of full-scale community activities.
A young Greymouth man suffered a
broken leg when he was struck by a car while
attempting to cross Tainui Street opposite
Brown Walters garage last night. He is Mr
Terence John Baird, 18, who suffered a
compound fracture of the left tibia in the
accident. He was admitted to the Greymouth
uFood for thought
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Democracy Week has gone
into the depths of the fall
in democratic participation
among the young in New
Zealand and how it could
be reversed to keep our democracy healthy
and avoid the worst excesses of countries
like the United States. Over there, rising
inequality and polarisation of political
views has turned many off voting, which
has turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy
where ever smaller groups of people vote
for politicians and policies that benefit
themselves at the expense of the non-voting
Until now, New Zealand has seen its
version of democracy as much cleaner, less
dependent on private donations and less
vulnerable to being captured by special
interests than America’s. But a recent slide
in turnout among the young is raising
questions about whether another dominant
trend of the last 20 years — falling rates
of home ownership — is fuelling a self-
fulfilling prophecy where property owners
have a disproportionate and growing
dominance of our democracy as they
become a smaller share of the population.
New Zealand’s overall voting rate in the
2014 election was 77% of enrolled voters
and 72% of the voting age population,
while just 55% of the voting age population
voted in last year’s presidential election in
the United States. About 62.5% of enrolled
New Zealanders aged 18 to 28 voted in the
2014 election, but that does not take into
account those who had also not enrolled.
Those 364,613 voters in that age group
represented just 52% of the estimated
696,240 residents in that age group in 2014.
Voting rates among those aged over
60 ranged from 86% to 88%. There were
752,437 people over the age of 60 who
voted in 2014, which represented 84% of
the population of 895,800 resident in 2014.
Victoria University’s political science
Professor Jack Vowles, along with
colleagues Hilde Coffe from Victoria
University and Jennifer Curtin from the
University of Auckland, are about to
publish a book looking at inequality and
the 2014 election, based on the results of
the New Zealand electoral sur vey. This is a
sur vey of 1462 people of randomly selected
eligible done two to three days after the
2014 election that asks a range of questions,
including what assets they own.
“ Young people have always tended to vote
less than old people, but the gradient has
got a little steeper,” Prof Vowles said of the
recent fall in youth participation.
He told me the sur vey had shown a
connection between low voting rates and
falling levels of home ownership among the
young. Home ownership rates fell sharply
between the 2001 and 2013 censuses for
those aged 20 to 40. The 2013 census found
43% of people aged 30-39 years owned
their home, down from 54.6% in 2001,
while home ownership for those over 70
was stable around 77%.
New Zealand’s voter participation rate
among young voters was falling, and was
falling in particular for those that did not
own property, he said. Prof Vowles wrote a
paper on the 2011 New Zealand electoral
sur vey which also showed a “significant
and substantial” relationship between asset
ownership and voting rates.
“There are people whose interests arguably
aren’t being fully taken into account by
Government as they should be, and one
reason for that is politicians know that
young people and people who have fewer
assets don’t vote,” Prof Vowles said.
“They know that older people are people
who own houses and they do tend to vote,
so they tend to think about the policies that
might benefit the people who actually vote
as opposed to those that don’t,” he said.
Prof Vowles and fellow academics talked
about the challenges of getting younger
people to vote at a Democracy Week event
at Victoria University event on Tuesday.
Kate McMillan, a senior lecturer in
political science, pointed to Prof Vowles’s
research on the link between non-voting
and ownership of assets.
“ We have a country which is increasingly
seeing things like home ownership fall
out of the grasp of younger people and
so one of the implications of that finding
about assets is that if we do see a situation
where young people are less and less likely
to be able to own their own home,” Dr
McMillan told an audience of students.
“They will become asset poor, and
this perhaps gives another reason to
think about policies that make housing
affordable and available to young people,
because the implications of a community
where inequalities grow, voting divisions
grow, mean that democracy’s reputation is
downgraded,” she said.
She pointed to policies that encourage
home ownership and the potential for a
capital gains tax.
Labour campaigned for a capital gains
tax and a higher retirement age at the last
election and lost, although just-resigned
leader Andrew Little changed those
policies when he became leader in late
2014 after he argued they helped cost
Labour the election. New Zealand First,
who are riding high in the polls and well
supported by elderly voters, is implacably
opposed to a capital gains tax, along with
Parties of both sides of politics and
in both central government and local
government (where youth voting rates
are even lower) have pursued policies
that effectively helped increase house
prices in the last 20 years, including
restricting land supply, turning down
official recommendations for land and
capital gains taxes, introducing resource
management laws that restricted housing
development and pursuing high
migration policies that increased housing
I read with interest Victoria Toon’s
responses to the National Union of Public
Employees (NUPE) in the Greymouth
Star (‘Union pushes for rest home pays. ’
The article provides much bombast but
little actual information from Ms Toon.
Subsequently, it is important that the
following points are dealt with.
Workers received letters in early April
that they would receive holiday pay
and redundancy, when the money was
available. They were informed in that letter
that they were preferential creditors.
NUPE understands and expects that
once secured creditors are paid then
preferential creditors must be paid.
The original article in the Greymouth
Star is very clear that secured creditors
were on the point of being paid off.
Your readers need to be made aware that
not all creditors are secured. Consequently,
payment to them comes after payment
to preferred creditors. At no point has
NUPE or workers been informed who is
or is not a secured creditor.
NUPE has been trying to get an answer
from Ms Toon in relation to when
workers might expect to get their money.
Unfortunately, Ms Toon has not answered
either individual responses from workers
or former workers or the union about this
issue, and still refuses to do so.
Lastly, employees at Granger House
received a pay increase due to the passing
of the equal pay legislation which came
into force on July 1. This covered all rest
home employees, regardless of their union
affiliation or whether they were in a union.
Ms Toon was legally obligated to pass this
pay increase on to workers.
NUPE went to the press as a last resort
because Ms Toon was not responding to
correspondence or questions. Even before
we went to the press, NUPE offered Ms
Toon the chance to respond and discuss
the situation. We received no response
from Ms Toon or her company.
Ms Toon would be better advised
to be upfront with workers and their
representatives and provide them with the
necessary information in good faith rather
than engage in verbal badgering. Such an
approach does not reflect well on her.
We await Ms Toon’s response as to when
workers and former workers will receive
what is rightfully theirs.
National Union of Public Employees
Many thanks to the Greymouth Star.
Your input has resulted in the road being
patched up today. That old saying, ‘the pen
is mightier than the sword ‘ comes to mind.
We are very fortunate to have a
newspaper that is willing to print letters on
potentially contentious subjects, yet is also
willing to assist with local issues.
Banning cage eggs
Although New Zealand is leading
the world in animal welfare standards
I believe we still have a long way to
go. Countdown supermarkets can be
commended for their decision to only
stock free-range eggs, the recent changes
to some of our welfare laws are definitely
a step in the right direction and many
farms are beginning to adopt better
Yet we still see cage eggs on the shelves
of other supermarkets, false labelling
concealing poor practices, farrowing
crates and similar systems are still
prevalent and many farming models are
severely detrimental to the environment.
It is easy to blame the consumers,
farmers, distributors or law makers for
the continuation of these practices but I
believe the blame is on the money system
itself. Because we are constrained by the
constant pressure to balance ethics with
cost we end up compromising on our
If we adopt a resource-based economy
our actions can be defined simply by our
moral code, not our bank balance.
MP’s benefit fraud
Fraud is a crime, no matter how you
try to justify it. Co-leader of the Green
Party, Metiria Turei’s admission to having
committed fraud over a five-year period
has left the public of New Zealand
wondering, is there a law for politicians
and a different law for the rest of us?
Her admission to this crime, had she not
been a list MP, would have seen her up in
court facing charges of fraud.
Accountability must play a part in this
situation. She is a list MP and as such her
reputation should be beyond reproach but
this is, by her own admission, sadly not
the case. Despite making the offer to pay
back everything she has stolen from the
taxpayer this does not excuse her crime.
Currently she is paid by the taxpayer so
how is she going to pay back all the money
she fraudulently stole from the same
taxpayer who currently pays her wages?
The question we must ask ourselves is
do we, the voting public of New Zealand,
want openly dishonest people running
this country? I believe the answer to this
question is obvious — no we do not.
The honourable thing for Metiria Turei
to do is to step down from the position
of co-leader of the Green Party and leave
Parliament. They say there is honour
among thieves, let us see how honourable
Metiria Turei really is.
Come September 23, hopefully the
voting public will cast their votes wisely on
who they want to govern this country for
the next three years.
New Zealand Seniors Party
I recently attended a meeting in
Westport about the proposed Buller
integrated medical centre. Hopefully the
determination of the community will
prevent a repeat of the expensive mistake
made in Greymouth.
While there has been a lot of publicity
about the new building in Greymouth,
there is little publicity about the
consequences of reducing the current
bed occupancy to match the reduced bed
numbers in the new building. Reduced on
site specialist ser vices in Greymouth have
adversely affected the ser vices to Buller,
ser vices to those with complex clinical
If the people of Greymouth and the
rest of the West Coast join in, perhaps
the multimillion dollar building in
Greymouth can be changed and
incorporated into a base hospital complex
capable of ser ving the West Coast?
The funding model for the proposed
Buller Medical Centre is not an
experiment, as the model is widely used
in Australia. The model progressively
increased health care costs and diverted
public health funds towards lucrative
procedural and imaging services and
neglected care for those with complex
clinical needs or chronic illnesses.
Inclusion of a private dental clinic
in the space previously allocated for
publicly-funded ser vices is an example
of financially-based decision making
in the Buller facility. It is important to
acknowledge that some public-private
partnership ventures have enhanced
health care ser vices to rural areas in New
Zealand. The surgical bus, radiology
ser vices, and air transfer are examples of
some of these ser vices.
When people power changes the
plans for the buildings, they will need
to change focus to review the model of
care and the system of governance which
allowed it. The public may not be unaware
that the elements of the planned model
of care for the West Coast was disclosed
to some members of staff over a decade
ago. The plan included the bare minimum
of on site expertise and a ‘scoop and run’
system (scoop the patient and run with
the funds)! Alternative models were
subdued by staff harassment.
‘clean, green’ image
The planned use of 1080 at double the
normal amount in the Arawhata area
by the Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) is
an insult to New Zealand’s ‘clean, green’
As farmers, we have to fence and
prohibit any pollution into our water ways,
with which we are making good progress.
How can DOC, Ospri Tb Free and Zip
be allowed to drop deadly poison into our
waterways, leave dead native birds and
poisoned animals to rot and pollute our
environment, with secondary poisoning of
eels, trout and other non-target species?
We must have a level playing field for
I suggest all farmers should be leaving
dead animals in the waterways this spring.
If their ears are missing, remember --
predators must have eaten them.
Our ‘clean, green’ image has been taken
from us. All our international airports
should now have an entry sign ‘ Welcome
to the Poisoned Land’.
The ‘Battle for our Birds’ and ‘Predator
Free NZ’ are just propaganda and lies
to promote further poisoning of our
environment. We must protect our
environment at all costs, for future
generations to enjoy and sur vive.
If you follow the money trail you will
see for yourself the truth about this
government-sponsored terrorism in New
I was shocked to learn that the previous
board of Westland Milk Products had
given Zip $76,000 in 2015 and have
committed to another $76,000 donation
in September this year.
Westland Milk Products should not be
involved in any poisoning programme
that could threaten our markets.
For anyone who has doubts about the
corruption, lies and propaganda in this
country, ask more questions and demand
Well-known Hokitika resident and
children’s author Margaret Hall leaves
behind a legacy of literature which
portrayed her young days, her travels and
journey through life. She died on June 25,
Margaret was born in Christchurch
and as an 11-year-old she was regularly
writing stories in the children’s section
for The Press, inspired by a sea voyage to
England in 1937 with her mother and
younger sister, Elizabeth.
The death of their mother when
Margaret was 16 deeply affected her but
her passion for writing continued, driven
once more by travel, the adventures and
her open mind while hitching through
Singapore and Europe.
Margaret was educated at St Mary’s
Primary School and then Christchurch
Girls’ High School. Her love of books
saw her soon working as a librarian at the
She spent 20 years as a librarian for
the National Library before a six-year
stint in the Canterbury Medical
Upon her return from England, in
1955 Margaret set up the Girls’ National
Training Corps in Christchurch, having
received nautical training in London and
She had a love of sailing and the sea
and during her life sailed the Spirit of
Adventure on 12 occasions.
She was awarded the British Empire
Margaret trained young women for a
life at sea, up until 1970 when she moved
to Fox Glacier with her father Bill Hall
and her sister Elizabeth.
Margaret adopted the West Coast as
her home and worked for the Westland
National Park as a receptionist at Fox
Glacier and a board member, but it was
the creative environment of rugged
Gillespies Beach that inspired her to
write her goldfields novel Swag and
Tucker, in 1993.
She also wrote After the Earthquake, a
novel about a South Westland family cut
off from civilisation, and Black Sands and
Margaret retired to Hokitika, where she
lived for many years until her death.
“She was so interesting, her books, the
descriptive words,” said good friend Jan
Bain. “She was a giver, very humble and
very positive — Margaret was a very
Sadly, Margaret ’s sister Elizabeth
Condon died four weeks later, on
1925 — 2017
Falling rates of home ownership are helping to drive election turnout rates down among the young, which
is creating a type of ‘doom loop’ for democracy as older property owners vote for policies that drive house
prices ever higher, and youth turnout rates ever lower. BERNARD HICKEY of Newsroom reports.
Democratic ‘doom loop’
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